How to Vacuum Shag Carpet

Ryn Gargulinski

You love your plush shag carpet, except it’s starting to look a lot less plush and a lot more shaggy. An easy way to keep up the carpet’s luster is with frequent vacuuming. This means more than just raking a vacuum across the deep pile.

Shag carpet can be fun for you-and your dog-if vacuumed using a few simple tips.

You can use a few simple tips to vacuum shag carpet so it stays as soft on your feet as fresh green grass. Here’s how.


For extremely matted shag carpet, take a soft, clean wire rake to the shag to fluff it up. Then vacuum and fluff again, if necessary. You can also fluff shag carpet by running your fingers through the the pile and pulling it upwards.

  1. Sprinkle a thin layer of powdered carpet freshener on the shag carpeting. Look for one of the fresheners that promises to help get rid of pet hair and other debris, as it can help pull out of the deep recesses of the carpet. Also find one with a scent you like so you don’t get nauseous. Wait five minutes after sprinkling before vacuuming.

  2. Set your vacuum on the highest pile setting, the one that sets the brushes the furthest from the floor. If your vacuum does not come with different settings, make the best of the setting you’re forced to use.

  3. Vacuum away. Shag works best with short, back and forth motions to pull the pile up as much as possible and avoid the vacuum getting stuck and smelling like it's about to burst into flames. Work your way with the vacuum left to right across the floor and, for good measure, go back over it in the perpendicular direction.

  4. Disconnect the vacuum hose and use the open tube to suck up dirt. Place the hose’s nozzle straight down into the carpet, methodically covering the entire area. This is a lengthy process but you will be amazed at how much dirt, grime and other disgusting stuff you are able to extract from the shag when you sit down and really concentrate. This does not have to be done often unless your carpet gets very heavy wear. A couple of times each year should do the trick.